Menu Planning

When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, Texas offers a large selection of options all year long. With federal meal pattern requirements in place ensuring students are offered fruits and vegetables in a range of colors each week, Texas is ripe for the picking as a source for all of your fruit and veggie needs.

These resources, along with our regional produce availability tool, will help you plan your menu around seasonally available items.


Cooking for the Seasons — Summer          

TDA’s Cooking for the Seasons — Summer cookbook includes menu-ready recipes focused on fresh produce available in Texas during the summer months. Recipes are tailored to child nutrition programs and can be incorporated into a seasonal cycle menu or weekly menus.


All of the recipes have been tested up to 25 servings and analyzed for nutritional value. Nutrient analysis was conducted using the child nutrition database approved by USDA. Nutrient analysis is required in the school meal program.


Education Service Center chefs at regions 10, 12, and 13 created the recipes to help child nutrition professionals use more local foods in meals and snacks.

Farm to Child Care Menu Planning Resource
Serving local and seasonal ingredients requires careful planning and preparation, but the rewards are worth the effort. TDA created this resource of recipes that meet the CACFP meal pattern and integrate seasonal ingredients available during summer months. This resource also contains a shopping list that can be modified for sites of all sizes.

Fruits and Vegetables Galore
This guide, developed by USDA’s Team Nutrition, offers tips on purchasing, presenting and promoting the fruits and vegetables used in your child care program. Use this tool to help make your daily meal offerings appealing and get children excited about eating healthy.

Food Buying Guide
This online version of USDA’s Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs was designed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) in collaboration with USDA. The calculator tool will help you buy the right amount of food and help you determine the specific contribution each food item will make toward meeting the meal pattern requirements.    

Child Care Menu Planning
Nutrition team members at TDA have identified the best resources to assist in increasing health and appeal of meals in early care settings while still keeping seasonality in mind. Child care menu planning tools include planning tips, recipes, cycle menus and other resources. Browse this page for kid tested and nutritionist approved recipes. 

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